As promised, my column about “New Evangelicals” has been published. Here’s a snippet, and you can follow the link below to read the rest at Patheos.

Last weekend my wife and I attended a young adult Bible study at our new church. We recently moved back to Boston from New York City and, for the first time in all of our moves (and there have been plenty) we found a church on our first try. There was no church shopping or denomination hopping. We went straight for the nearest Episcopal church, St. James’ Church in Cambridge.

We had been flirting with the Episcopal Church for years. First, when we were newly married we joined many of our friends, fellow Gordon College graduates, at the local parish, Christ Church in South Hamilton. Upon moving to New York City, however, we had to start from scratch. Some close friends recommended Redeemer Presbyterian Church. We had never heard of NYC’s most popular church (at least in evangelical circles), and naively assumed that since our friends were close with the Kellers, it would be a small community that we’d easily engage. We were wrong. In the end, Redeemer was too big, too corporate, too Presbyterian.

We tried a few other places, a Redeemer plant in the Village, another church on the Upper West Side, until finally we found our church home right in our own neighborhood, Grace Van Vorst, an Episcopal church in downtown Jersey City. There, as at our new church home in Cambridge, we met plenty of young people that shared our story—tentative converts from evangelical churches, disillusioned by the way their religious identity had been hijacked by the political right.

This is a familiar narrative that doesn’t bear retelling here. What is significant, however, is the way it seems to be happening again. That is, those of us who left evangelicalism—and, according to recent Pew surveys there are plenty of us—find ourselves the objects of a process to be reabsorbed into evangelicalism. It’s been happening since at least 2007, in the run-up to the presidential election in 2008. Faced with the apparent splintering of young people from the evangelicalism of our parents’ generations, attempts were made to reassign us as members of a “new evangelicalism.” The problem was, we didn’t call ourselves evangelicals…

Read the rest at Patheos.

 
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Jonathan D. Fitzgerald

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